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Alamosa's picture
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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
Hermosa Creek Wilderness bull (pics)

I wanted to share a few pics from my hunt 2nd season.

Hermosa Creek Wilderness North of Durango, CO

We have hunted this area since the mid-1990's. I had taken a number of cows from this unit. Bulls used to be fairly rare here but I had noticed an increase in the evidence of bull activity in the parts of the unit we frequently hunt. Last year my goal was to try to pull a bull out of this area. This year I finally got it done.

The older generation of our family used to hunt here with us. Only 3 of us carry on the hunt now.

The Chevy Apache was our Basecamp

3 miles down the trail, this one-man tent (spike camp) was a little chilly.

On the fateful day I had positioned myself in a ridge looking down over a steep grove of aspen trees. I knew there was an elk trail below me and that some animals might be moving today due to pressure from other hunters. Pretty suddenly I saw movement through the aspens. There was indecision among the herd. The herd cow called back another cow that had started down a ridge. Six cows galloped below me on the elk trail with the bull bringing up the rear. None of them stopped, or even slowed down enough for me to get a shot.

The entire herd made it to the relative safety of the pine grove to my left. Then, to my amazement, the bull walked out into an open lane through the pine trees and stood there.

It was not a long shot (135 yards) but it was a steep downhill shot. Everyone says to aim low when shooting steep downhill so I did. The first bullet crossed 1” below his heart/sternum and took out his bicept on the far side. He spun around twice. As soon as he stopped spinning the second bullet was on the way. He staggered downhill a few steps and tipped over. Lesson learned: just normal aim is sufficient.

Details - ‘80’s vintage Browning BLR, model ’81 in 7 mag, leupold 4x scope. 160 grain Nosler Partitions – Federal factory loads.

This hunt was on an Over-The-Counter 2nd season tag. It was public land (National Forest), and it was all Do-It-Yourself. The overall success rate on elk is 18% for 2nd elk season in this unit. Somewhat less for bulls. This is not my biggest bull, but it was very satisfying to be successful against the odds.

Making a carry up through the aspens.

HeavyC's picture
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Location: Greeley, CO
Joined: 07/19/2008
Posts: 635
Hermosa Creek Wilderness bull (pics)

Very nice story/report! Congrats, looks liek you earned it! Thumbs up

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Location: Kentucky/ Colorado
Joined: 06/23/2005
Posts: 1740
Hermosa Creek Wilderness bull (pics)

Alamosa,
Great job! Sounds like you worked hard for him, way to go.

SoCoKHntr's picture
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Location: Pueblo Colorado
Joined: 12/18/2006
Posts: 1773
Hermosa Creek Wilderness bull (pics)

Alamosa, you've always struck me as an outdoorsmen of high caliber. You don't post much but what you do is quality. Thanks for the great story of your hunt! Thumbs up

hellomcfly's picture
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Location: Denver Colorado
Joined: 04/29/2007
Posts: 324
Hermosa Creek Wilderness bull (pics)

congrats! nice bull! Thumbs up

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Joined: 10/27/2009
Posts: 15
Great job!

Just saw the post but I've hunted Hermosa alot myself, beautifl awesome country for sure.

Did you come up from the lower or upper side? I've hunted both but personally I would rather hunt the upper.
btw, that is definitely a decent bull for public lands.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Hermosa Creek Wilderness bull (pics)

What a thrill! Congrats to taking a great bull!!

Actually you are correct in that a steep downhill shot will have a flatter trajectory. I think the problem is that at 135 yds you probably didn't really need to compensate due to the distance. Part 2 of that story is it sounded like you probably over compensated anyway. At 135 yds point of impact would only be high an inch or 2 and if you held underneath the elk you held too far under.

You would really need to be in an extreme situation to take your cross hairs off meat. Meaning you may aim a little higher on the body or a little lower depending on the situation but you shouldn't take your crosshairs above or below that animal.

I think you had the concept right, you just over did it. With a 400 yard shot however a steep downhill shot would be high several inches and require quite a bit of adjustment.

Alamosa's picture
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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
Re: Great job!
dutch30 wrote:
Just saw the post but I've hunted Hermosa alot myself, beautifl awesome country for sure.

Did you come up from the lower or upper side? I've hunted both but personally I would rather hunt the upper.
btw, that is definitely a decent bull for public lands.

Our basecamp was the area known as the Strawberry patch. You get there by driving up through the ski area.
Over the years we have also had success in Junction Creek, Perrins Peak SWA, and near Graysill mine. We've done some hunting further North in Unit 74, seen elk, but have never gotten anything on the North end.

Alamosa's picture
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Location: Southern Colorado
Joined: 03/25/2005
Posts: 245
Hermosa Creek Wilderness bull (pics)

Here is how he looks up on the wall (the one on the left).

He's not a monster, not even close, but he is one of the more meaningfull elk I have taken because we faced rather long odds of success and our small group needed to do a lot of things right if any of us were going to get anything this year.

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Joined: 11/29/2009
Posts: 9
Hermosa Creek Wilderness bull (pics)

Now thats a wall hanger

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